The Corporate Poet held the room. Four hundred high ranking, hard charging executives from such companies as IBM, American Express, and Merrill Lynch, as well as those of us who are behavioral consultants, were entranced by the poet’s deep, melodic voice. We were mesmerized by his hypnotic rhythm. Magically, the imagery of his poetry found resonance within our own minds, and took us on our own private journeys. “Corporate Poet” sounds like an oxymoron. Yet David Whyte makes a living by working with companies through his art. His passion for his craft becomes a tool for others to find passion for theirs, or perhaps more accurately, to find crafts for their passions. Whyte’s poetry helps leaders and leaders-to-be discover who they are. That may sound frivolous to some readers. In reality, to understand our deepest passions and align our behavior with them is one of the most difficult tasks we…

A young blond child leaning on their crossed arms on a table, staring at a marshmallow.

The impact of EQ skills starts young. This edition of the EQ Leader Coaching Blog reports a scientific study that is unusual in that it is heartwarming as well as powerful. This is a study that I always make sure to tell my EQ workshop and webinar audiences.  Look at this picture of a cute little kid, smiling and looking longingly at a marshmallow.  In this study, a scientist brings a four-year-old into a room, barren except for a small table and two chairs. They chat for a bit. Then the scientist says, “I have to leave for a few minutes. Here’s a marshmallow. You can eat it while I’m gone. But if you wait to eat it until I return, I’ll give you a second marshmallow.” The scientist then leaves. Some children gobble that marshmallow up as the door is closing. Others wait. They work at distracting themselves from…

Empathy is essential, both for leaders and for Diversity, Equality, and Inclusiveness (DEI) initiatives. The Fall 2020 CLO Symposium had a number of excellent presentations that focused on and extolled the value of Empathy. If you have a chance, it would be worth your while to view the recordings, at Videos – Chief Learning Officer – CLO Media.  But, paradoxically, focusing only on Empathy is likely to reduce the actual practice of Empathy. So, though the discussions were excellent, as an EQ professional I found two things missing.  Attention to the way other EQ (Emotional Intelligence) skills impact the use of Empathy Some presentations left the impression that Empathy and EQ are synonymous. They are not. As important as Empathy is, EQ is much broader, comprised of sixteen different skills. Empathy is just one of them, and it doesn’t stand alone. Focusing only on Empathy is like riding a three-legged…

A coaching client asked me one of those “right way” questions the other day. (I get them often.) In this case, he wanted to know the right way to lead his team. He worried that he would do it “wrong” and mess things up. Experienced coaches know that there are many right ways to lead a team. There are many right ways to do most of the complex tasks that are given to high performers. They don’t give jobs with simple answers to senior people.   Of course, as we talked, my client recognized that there were many good ways he could approach his leadership task. Factors we considered in deciding which ways might work best included his personality, the personalities of his direct reports, the mission of his team, the culture of his organization, and the interests of the various stakeholders, among others. He developed a well-reasoned approach, which included…

These days, leaders who are asked to participate in EQ workshops are far less resistant to the idea of EQ than they were when I started the EQ Leader Program in 2004. The value of EQ has become largely accepted by most leaders in the executive ranks, though in truth, many people want “that other guy” to get some EQ, conveniently overlooking their own gaps. I bet you have stories to tell that would back this up! No matter how brilliant coaches, trainers, and development programs may be, participants will resist the changes requested. They will resist them even when they want to change. This blog post talks about some ways to partner with participants to overcome that resistance.  Resistance is a part of every learning process. Don’t take it personally. It’s just the way we human beings are. Plan for it. You may even feel some resistance as you…

Workshops can be a boon or a fatal error. In this post, we’ll look at how to ensure that your workshops succeed, whether you are the presenter or the person in your organization who is charged with providing effective development.  First, some history: Daniel Goleman’s first book on EQ, published in 1995, created a lot of excitement. Before long, every consultant with a pulse had developed an EQ workshop. Companies bought them by the truck load.  Just one teeny tiny little problem. Almost no one’s EQ improved in response to these workshops. Companies were investing billions, with nothing to show for it.  Why? The workshop model can work well for intellectual mastery, but not behavioral mastery, especially mastery of soft skills like EQ. So those early workshops probably did an excellent job of introducing the concept of EQ, and maybe even convincing people that it would be great to have…

Remember this from our previous post: to achieve success, work with Mother Nature, don’t fight her. She always wins. (That’s us, riding on her shoulders.) This is why we designed our EQ Leader Program2.0 around the ten principles that psychological science has repeatedly demonstrated are required for sustained impact of training and coaching programs. If you know the principles, you can do the same for your work.  Our previous post (April 19, 2021) described the first five principles. Today we will share six through ten.  Principle Six: A good relationship is essential  Research is clear that the most critical element for creating lasting behavior change is the relationship between the client and the coach. Why? You, the coach, are essentially asking your clients to step off a cliff. You are asking them to give up behaviors that have had at least some utility for them (or they never would have…

Our blog is devoted to helping executive coaches, and the organizations that use their services, to succeed. For our purposes, “succeed” means this: Executives will achieve sustainable behavior change that transforms and improves their leadership skills. People want to follow high EQ leaders.  Ignore Mother Nature at Your Peril.  To achieve sustainable behavior change, the relevant laws, or principles, of psychological science regarding learning must be understood and followed. Otherwise, you will swim upstream and get disappointing results. These principles of learning have been bred into human beings since the dawn of time. And remember: Mother Nature always wins.  Fortunately, once understood, these principles are easy to follow. In this post, and the next one, we’ll talk about how you can apply the ten principles to your leader development program. This post describes the first five principles. The next post will describe the other five. (For extended discussions of these…

You might think that EQ executive coaching is simply a method for building EQ skills in leaders. But it goes deeper than that. EQ skills aren’t taught or practiced in a vacuum. EQ Coaching is an integration of EQ skill building into the broader context of executive coaching, which means that we deal with all of the topics that executives deal with. Let’s take a look at two of those topics: 1) influencing and 2) negotiating. Influencing: Leaders must be able to influence their followers if they want them to unite behind a shared vision willingly and enthusiastically. As Ken Blanchard says, “The key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority.” John (not his real name) needed to get his team to make a dramatic shift away from their comfortable and familiar set of goals to a very different destination. This shift involved a whole new way of thinking…

Dr. Dana Ackley holds up a cup from Chipotle which reads "Cultivating thought"

by Dana C. Ackley, Ph.D. The EQ Coaching Blog is an interactive forum where readers can learn and share stories about EQ coaching, explore new ways to integrate EQ coaching into their work, and discover the role EQ coaching can play in creating organizational change. It is also a place where chief learning officers and others responsible for learning development in their organizations can come to learn more about EQ coaching, and exchange ideas about what works. Why do we need another blog? Many people interested in leadership development either have blogs of their own or post excellent material for leaders on social media. This blog will not duplicate those efforts. This is a “how to” blog, written not for leaders, but for those devoted to leader development. Why now? 2020 was an awful year. We couldn’t wait for it to end! But nothing changes simply because the calendar turns…